What to Do if You are Stranded in your Car
If you must drive during the blizzard, here is some great advice on what to do while awaiting help.
Some things to keep in mind in case your car gets stuck.
First, prepare by making sure you have all of the following supplies in your car:
Shovel, scraper, broom, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack foods, extra hats, socks and mittens, a first aid kit, necessary medications, blankets, a tow chain or rope, road salt/sand, booster cables, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flag.
If you get stuck, here’s when to stay in your car or try to leave your car to get help:
— Stay in your car if rescue is likely, this way you avoid exposure to the cold.
— Stay in your car if a safe location is not nearby or visible.
— Stay in your car if you don’t have the appropriate clothing to go outside.
— Stay in your car if you don’t have a cell phone with enough battery on you in case you get stuck outside.
— Leave your car if the distance to go for help or warmth is very close and easily accessed. But be careful with this, because distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to actually walk in deep snow.
— Leave your car if you can see clearly and the outside conditions are safe AND if you have appropriate clothing.
IF YOU ARE STRANDED IN YOUR CAR DURING A BLIZZARD:
— Pull off the highway, turn on your hazards, and (if you have one) hang a distress flag from the outside of the window or antenna.
— Run the engine and heater about ten minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation, and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe to protect yourself from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
— Move around/exercise as much as you can in the car to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
— Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
— Eat regularly and drink ample fluids to avoid dehydration, but avoid caffeine and alcohol, which will dehydrate you. Alcohol,contrary to popular belief, will ultimately cause you to lose body heat.
— Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs ( lights, heat, radio) with supply.
— Turn on the inside dome light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.